“Can we talk?” The words fill my heart with dread. My heart pounds and the panic button in my regulatory system gets pressed repeatedly, I’ve said something or done something wrong. They’re angry with me. They hate me. I know it. I can feel it.
My past abuse amplifies the fear – after conflict, there is inevitable anger, rage, or a beating. I steel myself for whatever might come. I can handle it I tell myself. I’ve survived before and I will again.
The speaker just wanted to have a gracious conversation with me about something I said that came off inappropriately. He was kind, loving, curious, and corrective. All good things. I was in the wrong. I apologized.
However, after we got off the phone I began to panic. Did I apologize correctly? Did he hate me? Was he angry? Was this the end of a friendship? I feared emotional harm and ultimately rejection. The feelings or potential of rejection are ominous and palpable and paralyzing
This is Complex PTSD in action – reacting to a present situation as if an old threat exists. It is waiting for the other shoe to drop and the guillotine to fall. This is what it feels like to be stuck in the vortex of the disease that always tells you that you are not safe or loved.
My anxiety was so high it required medication to calm it down and for me to begin to think rationally. PTSD sucks.